Young Tech Startup Founders In Asia Make Mental Health Support Accessible To Break Stigma

Breaking down societal stigma and creating a new mental healthcare system for the Asia-Pacific area are two of Theodoric Chew’s objectives, founder of the digital mental health app, Intellect.

Founded in 2019, the mobile app frequently monitors users’ moods, delivers rescue sessions and exercises, and lets them chat with therapists in real-time. 

The 26-year-old explained that mental health is just as important as physical health, “You and I face things like stress, burnout, sleep issues, and relationship struggle as well.” he told CNN, “ That’s where actually a lot of us should start working on our mental wellbeing.”

Since early 2020, the startup serves over 3 million Asia-Pacific users in 15 languages. According to CNN Business, the Singapore-based mobile app has raised $20 million in its Series A funding, the largest amount raised by a mental health start-up in Asia.

Early this year, Singapore and Jakarta-based digital mental healthcare start-up, Ami, has raised at least $3 million from a number of investors, including Meta, the owner of Facebook. The firm was founded by Justin Kim, a Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia alum with Beknazar Abdikamalov.

Both digital mental health companies are targeting employers in their business models, where companies can subscribe to provide staff unlimited, private access to their services.

According to the WHO, depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy $1 trillion a year in lost productivity. In March, it was reported that anxiety and sadness surged 25% worldwide in the first year of the pandemic.